Use of brand names

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Editor, – Julian Fidge's letter ('Letters' Aust Prescr 1997;20:84) suggests that medical students should not have to learn brand names of drugs as they are 'pointless' in a teaching environment. To a certain extent, this is true as he will certainly be expected to prescribe by generic names when he graduates. However, the patients that he admits or sees in the Emergency Service and Outpatients Department will almost certainly refer to their drugs by brand names. Ignorance of the more common brand names will make life difficult for all concerned. I submit that the proper approach is to refer to the drugs by their generic names, but also to ensure that the more common brand names are also mentioned. In this way, all possible bases are covered.

Simon Vanlint
General Practitioner
Barmera, S.A.